Let's keep the conversation on campus carry alive

Let’s keep the conversation on campus carry alive

Gun Rights

On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from the UT tower and killed 14 people on our campus, ushering in the modern era of mass shootings. Fifty years later, Aug. 1, 2016, in an ironic twist of history, it became legal to carry concealed handguns in classrooms and many other educational spaces on the campus. During the debate leading up to the implementation of this law known as “campus carry,” we were even subjected to the specter of a gun enthusiast with an assault rifle standing on the roof of a UT parking garage. That image had eerie overtones of Whitman selecting his victims from the tower. We were being reminded that in addition to concealed handguns, open display of long guns — including loaded assault rifles — is legal on our campus. How did we get here, and what has been the impact of campus carry? Arguments were made that gun-free zones encourage mass shootings and therefore such zones on college campuses should be eliminated in the name of safety. The available evidence does not support this position. For a readable account, see “Rampage Nation: Securing America from Mass Shootings” by Louis Klarevas. Other arguments were based on interpretations of the Second Amendment to the Constitution that individuals had the right to bear arms almost anywhere and everywhere, with very few exclusions. Historical analyses do not support this interpretation. For a fascinating summary of the discussions and intentions of the authors of the Constitution and the Second […]

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